Building Blocks

Just like the Mountaineer football team, women's head basketball coach Mike Carey hopes to establish a solid foundation for his program during his first year on the job.

Of course, any further comparison between a bowl winning program and one that has recorded only eleven victories in the past two seasons combined would be a stretch, to say the least. However, Carey, like his compatriot Rich Rodriguez, is concerned with building a long term success at WVU.

"I'm not so concerned with wins and losses this year as I am with finding ladies who will play hard," said Carey recently. "We need to restore pride in this program, and that has to start from within."

The firey Carey is determined to do just that, and whether it comes from his players or from himself, he sees maximum effort as the linchpin of building the program. He hopes to have some of his players lead that effort, "but if they don't, then it will have to come from me."

In addition to being colleagues at Salem, Carey and Rodriguez also share an intense coaching demeanor. But while Rodriguez has only coached men, Carey is now moving over to the ladies' side. Will that affect his style?

"I'm not going to stand up here and tell you it's not different. But as to how it will affect my style, I'm not sure. I might be standing up here next year telling you that I changed a lot, but I don't see that yet," said the straight talking Carey. "I'm still teaching, still doing a lot of the things I did at Salem. In fact, I'm probably teaching a litte more, because the ladies are willing to listen and learn."

Deespite their eagerness to put the past seasons of ugliness behind them, Carey is well aware of the limitations of his current roster, and frets that the Mountaineers might be between a rock and a hard place, especially on the defensive end. A fan of uptempo, fast paced basketball, Carey want to force the issue defensively with pressure, but fears that his charges might not have the quickness or the depth to do that. Faced with the alternative of sitting back in a zone, however, Carey would prefer to dictate the pace where possible.

"I don't think we're good enough to sit back and let Big East teams run through their offense three or four times against us. We don't match up well enough with them to allow that. So, we have to figure out a way to take some time off the clock while not giving up easy shots. We'll probably try to run some soft presses and make it tough for them to get the ball up court."

Carey knows, however,that his undermanned squad is in for a tough battle. With no post player bigger than 6-2, West Virginia will have to rely on transition offense to put up enough points to steal a game here or there. But even though he appears to be facing a stacked deck, Carey doesn't want to limit his team's possibilities.

"I don't want to say we want to win so many games," Carey said. "We know we're not as talented as many of conference opponents, or even our out of conference opponents. But a lot of times, the better talent doesn't win the game."

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